It's the future, Jim, but not as we know it...

There's more to tomorrow than robots, flying cars, and a faster internet.
22C+ is all about Deep Futures, futures that matter. Welcome to futures fantastic, unexpected, profound, but most of all deeply meaningful...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Robots Rising (still)

The Kowloon District of Hong Kong
 Marcus T Anthony's new web site and blog can be found at:

This just in from the robot brigade here in Hong Kong. Regular readers of 22C+ will recall that I submitted a programme to the Love Idea Love Hong Kong campaign. Called Urban Enlightenment, it is designed to help people slow down, connect with the present moment and with other people in the community. It is a direct attempt to help the problem of personal and social alienation in a city dominated by a bureaucratic and financial mindset that extracts much of the joy from human experience. Here is the response to my application, which I received this morning:

Dear Marcus Anthony,

Thank you for supporting the “Love Ideas ♥ HK” project, regretfully your application (application no. 900894 ) cannot proceed for listing due to one or more than one of the following reasons:

1.Execution is outside the territory of Hong Kong or its beneficiaries are not within Hong Kong’s local community.
2. Adequate and verifiable information has not been provided.
3. Project involves commercial content or promotion of products.
4. Execution period exceeds the 12 months period requirement.
5. Qualifications issues- e.g. organizations must be registered under Section 88 of the Inland Revenue Ordinance for three years or more.
6. Project does not comply with the Terms and Conditions of the programme.

Please continue to vote or submit other projects to Love Ideas ♥ HK .

Any further inquiries, please email us at and remember to quote your application number in the mail.

“Love Ideas Love HK”

And that was the email in its entirety. There was no name or signature attached to it. The precise reason for the rejection is not stated.
I can’t help but see the irony in this result, when a person takes a great deal of his personal time to try to help this pressing problem in Hong Kong, only to get a robotic, bureaucratic, impersonal response from a machine.

Looks like Hong Kong won’t be changing anytime too soon.


I just sent off a letter to the email address provided (see below). Let's see what happens.

Re: application no. 900894

Dear Sir or Madam,

I received a generic email this morning saying that my application for Love Ideas, Love Hong Kong had been rejected. There was no reason given. May I please know that reason? I suspect it was because I listed the finishing date as 2012. I did that only because that was an option provided by the software on your system (end 2012 was the latest finishing date listed), not because my application idea requires that much time. It does not. In fact this simple programme can easily be done over short periods of time, and a year is no problem.

If this is indeed the reason for the rejection, then I am disappointed that I took so much time to develop the programme. Why put the option of two years on your website if that renders the application invalid? Not meaning to be blunt, but this is an unnecessary problem caused by the system you have implemented, and would be easily avoided with a slight adjustment to your software.

I also find it ironic that my Urban Enlightenment programme, which is designed to help people overcome alienation and connect with others in society, is rejected by an impersonal, electronic, generic message with no name or signature attached to it. This is precisely the kind of thing that so many people in Hong Kong find distressing, and helps create that sense of impersonal alienation. I think applicants deserve better treatment.

If the goal of Love Ideas Love Hong Kong is really to show love and concern for Hong Kong and its people, then the least we should expect is to have a personal interaction with a human being at the end of it all, even if it is by email.


Marcus T. Anthony

Friday, October 29, 2010

Should We Use Spiritual Perception to Do Business?

For a long time I have grappled with the dilemma of whether to teach business people how to use what I call Integrated Intelligence. Integrated Intelligence (INI) is a naturally occurring intuitive way of knowing. It can assist us greatly in understanding ourselves deeply, in comprehending life and the world we live. INI can be used in making decisions of all kinds, from such mundane choices as whether or not to watch a particular movie, or for life-changing choices such as who to marry or which career to choose.

There is also no practical reason why you cannot use INI at the office, for your business, or for making financial decisions. I have done this for a long time, and I know many others who do it to (in my next blog post I will detail practical real-world examples).

Make no mistake. Integrated Intelligence is powerful. It grants us an intuitive and mental capacity that brings with it great responsibilities. Take a look at the following list. As a person who uses INI every day, I have taken the time to map out precisely what these mental processes are:

Small Things and the Big Picture

Marcus T Anthony's new web site and blog can be found at:

Today, a little bit of philosophy of mind...

One day neuroscientist D. James Austen had a rather unusual experience as he waited for a train in London.
..he glanced away from the tracks towards the river Thames. …suddenly (he) felt a sense of enlightenment unlike anything he had ever experienced. His sense of individual existence, of separateness from the physical world around him, evaporated like morning mist on a bright dawn. He saw things “as they really are,” he recalls. The sense of “I, me, mine” disappeared. “Time was not present,” he says. “I had a sense of eternity. My old yearnings, fear of death and insinuations of self-hood vanished. I had been graced by a comprehension of the ultimate nature of things (Begley 2001 p 41).
One might expect that this profound experience would have led Austin to question some of the standard assumptions of mainstream science. Some might have interpreted the experience as evidence of a human perception that transcends ordinary awareness. Austen did no such thing. He concluded that it was merely “proof of the existence of the brain” (Begley 2001 p 41). Austen based this interpretation on the belief that “all we see, hear, and think is mediated or created by the brain” (Begley 2001 p 41). The experience was therefore ‘reasoned’ in reductionist and mechanistic terms.

It can be seen that Austen interpreted the experience in the language of neurophysiology. The event was an illusion created by the cessation of “certain brain circuits” – the amygdale, the “parietal lobe circuits”, and the “frontal and temporal lobe circuits” (Begley 2001 p 41). There is an implicit championing of reductionist knowledge, where analysis is the key way of knowing. With this comes a complete rejection of the actual insight (direct experience) provided by the mystical experience, and that insight was that there is a wholeness which pervades the cosmos. Here, the microscale neural activity has become more real than the experience itself.

This little incident in the life of one man epitomizes the entire discourse of modern mind science, which consciousness is defined in terms of the data gleaned from microprocesses within the brain, with the data at the first person level effectively ignored. What the neuroscientist sees is not the whole, but the parts, and those parts are mediated by technology. The image below shows what a neuroscientist might typically see of the ‘mind.’ The inner world of the mind, and the data of the mystical insight disappears with this methodology, while the reductionist and ‘scientific’ achieve privileged status within the system.

The excessive and unbalanced reductionism of much of modern science emerges from its materialism. The key issue is science’s often unexamined assumption that the microscale is primary, while the macroscale (whole) is secondary, built up from mechanistic micro-processes, in a one-way system. This is significant because reductionist science underpins neo-Darwinism, and neo-Darwinism underpins neuroscience, cognitive psychology and ultimately consciousness theory.

Mechanistic Western science, including the vast majority of mainstream evolutionary theorists, approaches the understanding of nature and cosmos in markedly different ways from thinkers holding a mystical/spiritual worldview. For Western science the focus is upon the bits and pieces of systems, the microscale. For those with a mystical bent, the whole – often in the form of ‘spirit’ - is seen as important, and often as the very basis of the entire system. The predominance of reductionism in western science illegitimates the very knowledge base of mystical spirituality and integrated intelligence, and conceals the knowledge it might potentially contribute to our understanding of the world and the cosmos.

This has been disastrous for the representation and understanding of inner and intuitive worlds. First person experience and all the data within the mind, has been reduced to neuro-chemistry and micro-processes. This has resulted in the rejection of thousands of years of

Magnetic Resonance Imaging; (MRI) brain scan. The modern neuroscientist does not see into the mind. What she sees is the ‘surface’, the externalities of the brain. This methodology and this culture emerge from the mechanistic paradigm.

data garnered from mystical spirituality. Current cognitive psychology continues in this vein, and its reductionism is typically uncritically represented in both academic and popular science. Charles Tart writes that a repeated theme is the attempt to explain consciousness via simpler, non-conscious sub-components, reducing the mind to information processing within physical systems. The digital computer has inevitably become the key metaphor.

A passage from neuroscientist and sceptic Michael Persinger (2001) sheds further light here. Persinger consistently argues for a reductionist and brain-based explanation for paranormal phenomena. His verbs of knowing (in bold) reveal an interpretation that is typical of the critical/rational worldview and modern science.
From the perspective of modern neuroscience, all experiences are generated by brain activity, or at the very least strongly correlated with brain activity. As the complexity of this brain activity is mapped and described mathematically, the nuances of thought and the idiosyncratic noise that define us as individuals will be quantified. To date there has not been a single type of paranormal experience that is not understandable in terms of known brain functions. The consideration of these experiences as predictable (control) components of brain activity will allow the differentiation between the illusions of intrinsic stimulation and the validity of information obtained through mechanisms yet to be explained (Persinger 2001 p 524. Italics added).

Here Persinger presents a hyper-materialistic conception of mind, mirroring neo-Darwinian assumptions. His view epitomises mainstream discourse in psychiatry and cognitive psychology, where the brain and consciousness are depicted as essentially synonymous. Internal choice/free will (which is difficult to reduce to micro-components) is often depicted as an illusion, and all unknowns are explained in terms of “mechanisms” that – even if unknown at present – will be identified in due course. More than a hundred years ago, William James referred to this kind of thinking as ‘promissory materialism’. Thus Persinger effectively eliminates first person data from the discussion, reflecting deeper paradigmatic asumptions – most notably the mechanistic paradigm’s reductionist privileging of micro-processes over macro-level processes.

The verbs of knowing tell us much. Microscale neuronal activity is “described” and “defined” – where visual and verbal/linguistic intelligences are key. The verb “mapped” represents the materialisation of subtle phenomena, ascribed to the hard page, and in abstract form. It can be seen that five key ‘rational’ ways of knowing are given privileged status: experimentation, analysis, classification, mathematical/logical and verbal/linguistic intelligences. Mathematical description is the ultimate validation process, and consciousness is depicted as “quantified… idiosyncratic noise”.

With this kind of representation of psi experience, the material substrate becomes the entire focus of the examination, while the mystical experience itself becomes forgotten, almost invisible.

There is another notable weakness in Persinger’s account. There is no deep questioning at the systems or worldview levels. This is consistent with empirical science’s typical reluctance to submit its own worldview to scrutiny, or to consider the possibility that its knowledge structures have a socio-cultural basis.

Persinger is an actor in a mythological play, playing the role of detached and impartial scientist. His part is to act as if he is untouched by the uncomfortably affective world of the human psyche and its nebulous, intuitive feelings.

Personally, I doubt that any human being exists in such a floating fortress of perfect objectivity.



Begley, S. (2001, May 7). Religion and the brain. Newsweek, 52–57.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Power, Spirituality and the Modern Mind

The modern mind and the way that we employ it is not "natural". The way we think and feel is not purely genetically determined. We use our brains far differently from the way our ancestors used them. The advent of writing, mass reading (the printing press) and computers and the internet have all heralded massive shifts in the way we operate mentally. In recent decades research has clearly shown that the brain is far more plastic than once thought. Repeated habits of thought and action imprint themselves upon the brain and its neuro-chemical pathways.

For example, long hours using the internernet tends to activate the the left-frontal area of the brain. This enhances visual spatial intelligence and the capacity to efficiently sort data into categories (schemata). However, as Nicholas Carr points out in his brilliant book The Shallows, recent research indicates that this enhancement comes at the cost of mathematical and linguistic intelligences and critical reasoning; and arguably retards the capacity to feel at depth, moralise and to assimilate wisdom. I'll be saying more about this in upcoming weeks.

For those interested in the historical interplay between scientific rationality, religion and mysticism, I have uploaded Chapter 3 of my book Integrated Intelligence to (it is in academic form, however). For those not inclined to read the whole chapter, you may be interested in the "map" at the end of the chapter which outlines the interplay of the history. You can read it here:

Go well,


Monday, October 18, 2010

Wild Things of the Spirit

Here’s a slightly immoral morality tale, which appears in simplified form in my book Sage of Synchronicity. In that book I edited out some of the more spicy parts of the story, just in case the book got banned in Iran or somewhere like that. However, after a year or so of deep reflection, I have decided to reveal it in its full glory here. Any resemblance to people living or deceased is purely coincidental. Unfortunately the part about me is true. The story covers a time in my late twenties when I was enrolled as a postgraduate student at the University of Newcastle, Australia.

This stint in Newcastle was a more positive one for me. I also started having some fun. I played rugby for the university club, went out to dinners, even to dance clubs. In many ways I miss those days in Newcastle, when I waited for the wisdom of Spirit to manifest through visions and songs, worked sporadically as a relief teacher, and absent-mindedly planned for the future. I was twenty-nine years old single, free, and very much a New Age space cadet.
My best friend at this time was Gary, another PhD candidate who lived on campus at the university. Gary was ecstatically single. Unlike me, Gary had little self-doubt and was a womaniser of notorious and uncompromising skill. We regularly went to clubs and discos. Gary needed a side-kick to kick-start his act (it’s harder to meet women when you are alone, as Gary often pointed out). He was very intelligent, funny, and spiritual in his own way. A typical night out would see Gary and I hit the dance floor. I would dance head down with typical shyness, while Gary would jiggle around smiling and having a good time, flirting with every girl within eye shot. As often as not Gary got the girl. I never did.
The truth is that the prospect of shacking up with a strange woman terrified me, and even when some came close, I would push them away. Not so for Gary.
From my work as a relief teacher, I earned just enough money to live week to week, but I had no specific career ambitions. I retained my deep passion for the spiritual realms. It was just that I was just becoming a little more worldly.
One week I got some song guidance which picked up my hopes regarding women. I woke one night hearing She’s an Easy Lover. I went back to sleep. Then Wild Thing by the Trogs kept coming through.
The next night this repeated. Was I was being told something? Was I about to get lucky?  Miracles had been known to happen.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Urban Enlightenment

The following is linked to the Love Ideas, Love Hong Kong campaign. I have submitted my Urban Enlightenment programme to them for consideration. The winners are chosen by public vote, so I will make the odd reference to the programme here on 22C+ from time to time.

There was a time when people retreated to quiet caves in far-distant mountains or to simple huts beside the ocean to sooth their soul, rediscover their spirits, and to find enlightenment. The Buddha rejected earthly materialism and meditated under a banyan tree, while Chinese mystic lived a secluded life in rural, rustic China. The serene lives of mystics seems as far removed from the modern hustle and bustle of Hong Kong as you could possibly get. 
Given that most of us do not have the luxury of escaping to a secluded spiritual retreat for a year or two, the key question for you and I is whether there is a way to reconnect with the spirit and remain at peace, while being a part of the energy and vitality of Hong Kong? 
When I came to Hong Kong six years ago I had already spent more than a decade exploring the mind through meditation, spiritual practice and direct academic research. Initially, I found the fast paced urban environment of Hong Kong to be very challenging. So I set about developing ways to help myself stay connected to my soul, even as I went about commuting, working and socialising. 
Urban Enlightenment is the result of that quest. It is a 30 day programme to help you restore the soul, find peace of mind, and just relax more and enjoy life in the present moment. The great thing is that it helps people slow down and connect with others, and enjoy all the great things about Hong Kong. The truth is that there are literally thousands of opportunities every day to centre the mind and allow inner peace. 
Urban Enlightenment teaches people how to do this. The project will consist of the creation of a single web site which will feature the 30 daily activities. The activities will have written text of no more than 500 words, plus a short YouTube video explaining how to do it.  It will also have a list of all the great places to visit, and things to do in Hong Kong which can help people restore their spiritual vitality.
All activities have been created for people with a busy Hong Hong lifestyle, so they do not require much time. Many require only a minute or two. There is an option for doing a short 10 minute meditation each morning, if the person chooses.

Here are a few of the activities which will appear in the programme. Note that the actual text will be less than 500 words on the web site, and in the booklet.

Finally, here is The Introduction to the Urban Enlightenment Booklet and web site. 
Feel free to email me,, if you have any questions.

Peace (and enlightenment!),

Marcus T. Anthony (PhD)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Shifting Hong Kong web site

Just a brief not to let you know that the web site for the Shifting Hong Kong retreat with systems theorist Errvin Laszlo is now up. Those passionate about the futures of Hong Kong, and indeed the world, should not miss it! You can find out more here:

Things have been quiet around here lately, but I will be back with some exciting news and blog posts in the near future. In particular, I will be writing about a very readable and important book, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, by Nicholas Carr. It outlines all the latest research about how the internet is turning us into robotic, shallow thinkers, and retarding the capacity for analysis, long-term memory, deep insight and reflectivity.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Global Shift, Hong Kong Consciousness Festival

Whew! It's been a hectic few weeks for me, so no time to blog. Besides the usual heavy workload as an educator in Hong Kong at the start of the academic year, another exciting happening has tied me up a bit. 

From the 13th to the 24th of November 2010, the Hong Kong Consciousness Festival is back. The Festival features several conferences as well as workshop events, films, and much more. 

This year I am helping to organise the showpiece of the event, a consciousness retreat/conference featuring systems theorist Ervin Laszlo. The retreat is called Hong Kong Global Shift 2012  (those who have read my book Sage of Synchronicity, might recall he wrote the foreword). Besides Professor Laszlo, we already have have numerous consciousness practitioners attending, including Daniel Pinchbeck, Maria Sagi and Jeffery Martin.

The two day retreat is being held at the beautiful Kaldoorie Institute at Shek Kong, in the New Territories of Hong Kong. It's in a lovely rural setting, and there is very reasonably priced accommodation available.

On day one Professor Laszlo will begin proceedings with his key note talk, where he will outline what he sees as the key features of the global shift. After this there will be other talks, group discussions and open space forums. On day two we will narrow the focus, and bring our attention to what the global shift means for Hong Kong. After further talks, discussions and activities, we will create Global Shift Forward Roadmap for Hong Kong. This will include practical and measurable actions to be taken as Hong Kong moves into the middle of the twenty-first century. The climax of the retreat will be the formation of a Wisdom Council, which will include all those who see themselves as part of the Global Shift in consciousness in Hong Kong and across the world. This is a rare opportunity to meet, talk with and establish networks with some of the most progressive thinkers in the world today, so don't miss it!

If you are interested in attending the Hong Kong Global Shift 2010 conference, just contact me, Marcus Anthony: I look forward to seeing you there.

Kind regards,

Dr. Marcus T. Anthony

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Is Your Country Making You Stupid?

Stupid is as stupid does together

There are smart people, and there are dumb people.
Some races are smart and others are not so smart.
People in some countries are smarter than others.
Or so we may assume.
The truth is far more complex than popular depictions of intelligence suppose.
In fact, the scary thing is that your country can make you retarded. Quite literally, as in the place where you live can retard your intelligence. No, this is not a thread of Irish jokes, Polish jokes, or other politically incorrect humour. Instead I am going to show you how your mind is literally belittled by the world you live in, and you probably don’t even know its happening.
First, in order to understand what I am saying, let’s take a look at what really makes people, smart – or stupid.
In his brilliant little book The Making of Intelligence, Ken Richardson completely decimates mainstream dominant models of intelligence, and especially the idea that people have an innate and unchangeable IQ which is controlled by genetic factors. In doing so, Richardson has developed his own five-tier model of intelligence. Richardson does find a place of genes, but he identifies another four important factors which influence intelligence. Here I am going to tell you what those five factors are. Yet even Richardson does not go far enough. Based on my own exploration of the mind at a first person level, and from my research into the subject, I am going to add another factor of my own.
There is a genetic basis of intelligence. Nobody disputes that. Yet just how much of a role does it play? Most researchers put it at about 50%, but some put it at no more than 20%.
Genomic factors
We must also take into consideration what happens during the development of the individual. So, physical/environmental issues in the environment might come into play here, such as pollution, nutrition, and the quality of nurturing.
Epigenetic factors
Here Richardson refers to intra-generational change. It is well known that IQ scores go up at about the rate of 3% per generation.  This is known as the Flynn effect, and it is probably due to the fact that key concepts have been commonly accepted into society. Examples might include natural selection, the paradigm, and the idea of perspective itself.
Cognitive factors
The way people use their brains in the world affects their intelligence. If a person is a writer like me for example, they have to exercise their ability to think analytically and logically. It’s normally a ‘left-brained’ process, although, as I have written elsewhere, I deliberately incorporate the intuitive mind as I write and research.
Socio-cognitive factors
Here Richardson is referring to the way people work together to be smart as a group. Some forms of intelligence can be expressed within a group, or with the help of others. Cultures can also suppress intelligence where the society refuses permission for its expression.
It is interesting to note that “China” produced both the brilliance of the 2008 Olympics, and the insane tragedy of the Great Leap Forward in the late 1950s, which led to about 45 millio0n deaths. There are reports of starving Chinese peasants in the far provinces praying towards Beijing and Chairman Mao to save them, tragically unaware that their ‘saviour’ was the one who had created their suffering. Same country, same gene pool; different policies/culture, different expressions of intelligence.